The Responsive Tech that Powers Your Volunteer Recruitment

Responsive Design on the VolunteerMatch HomepageHere’s a fun activity: Take out your smartphone, open a Web browser, and go to www.volunteermatch.org. Looks nice, right?

We just released a fully responsive version of our website. This means that when volunteers come to VolunteerMatch.org to search and sign up for your volunteer opportunities, it’s even easier and prettier. Special thanks to our mobile Innovation Sponsor, UnitedHealth Group, for making this exciting upgrade possible!

Why Does Responsive Design Matter for Volunteer Engagement?

That’s a fair question. Let’s start with the numbers: Over 25% of people coming to our website these days are doing so via a mobile phone (this doesn’t even count tablet users!) To give you an idea of magnitude, that’s been about 2 million people so far in 2014. That number is up about 60% since last year. So the mobile market is growing for volunteer engagement, too.

Now let’s get into the fuzzier stuff. We want to make sure everyone has the chance to make a difference. Mobile phones are a big way many people – including lower-income, and physically-challenged folks – are able to access the Internet. Now the experience on VolunteerMatch will be as seamless, beautiful, fun and easy for them as it is for someone on a desktop computer.

So the switch to responsive design makes it more likely that anyone on a mobile phone, whether they are on their couch, at work, at a bus stop, waiting during their kid’s violin lesson, or weaving along the sidewalk, will find and sign up for your volunteer opportunities.

Should Nonprofits Do Anything Different?

Responsive volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch.org.You certainly don’t have to. You volunteer opportunities will automatically be optimized to look beautiful no matter what device someone is using. However, we do have a few simple tips to make the content of your listings stand out for people while on the go:

  • Keep it short and simple. Make it easy for someone to quickly read about the opportunity while scrolling through with their fingers. Otherwise, chances are they won’t take the time, and they’ll miss important details or they’ll give up and not sign up at all. Bullet points, simple lists and short sentences all work great.
  • Make your title extra-special. While on-the-go, many people won’t click through to view an opportunity unless it looks especially fun and inviting, or exactly what they’re looking for. So make sure your opportunity title is very descriptive, and make it witty or even funny so it stands out from the rest of the search results.
  • Include skills. Busy folks on their mobile phones will be more attracted to volunteer opportunities that seem tailor-made for them, and this means their specific skills. Fortunately, VolunteerMatch has a Listing Wizard that helps you choose the right skills for your opportunity. (And don’t forget, these listings are then automatically sent to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, for even more exposure!)

So what are you waiting for? Post some mobile-friendly volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch now, and let us know what you think about the new, responsive version of the website!

People Make the Difference: Explore a Year of Impact

Everyone should have the chance to make a difference – wouldn’t you agree?

That’s why VolunteerMatch makes it easier for people to connect with the causes they care about.

Explore the 2013 VolunteerMatch Annual Impact Report

To take a look at how far we have come, it is a pleasure to share with you VolunteerMatch’s Annual Impact Report – a graphic look at people and causes, like your organization, who are making a difference.

Last year was an important time for us: we re-launched www.VolunteerMatch.org with a one-of-a-kind recommendations engine, overhauled our workplace group management services, ventured onto your mobile phone, and pushed our entire technical infrastructure into the cloud.

And it worked. The improvements helped us power almost a billion dollars’ worth of volunteer service in 2013. And together, we can do even more.

Don’t worry, we’ll dive into each of the sections of this awesome infographic in detail, but for now, enjoy exploring the impact we made together last year – and join in as we create impact in 2014 that exceeds all expectations.

Click here to explore the 2013 VolunteerMatch Annual Impact Report!

Welcome to Our New Communications & Social Media Intern

Hey everyone! My name is Tori Fukumitsu, I am the new Communications & Social Media intern at VolunteerMatch, and I am very excited to join the Online Communications team and the VolunteerMatch family.

I currently attend Hamilton College in Clinton, NY where I am a Junior and an English major with a Japanese minor. At Hamilton, I have had the privilege to meet so many great people from diverse backgrounds who are extremely driven and love learning, and I can’t wait to build similar relationships at VolunteerMatch. My studies have helped cultivate my written and verbal skills which I am very eager to apply to the internship at VM.

Outside of the classroom I am involved in a number of activities. After two semesters of tutoring local elementary school students in an underserved school district through America Reads, I took on a larger role this past semester as a site coordinator for HAVOC, Hamilton’s largest volunteer and outreach club. I led students on weekly trips to a local homeless and hunger shelter called Rescue Mission of Utica where we lent a helping hand to their food service program.

In addition to my volunteer work, I hold two on-campus jobs, am a member of the Hamilton College Orchestra, and captain three intramural sports. In my spare time I enjoy playing acoustic guitar, watching hockey, hiking, and listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Back at home in the Bay Area, I have had the pleasure of applying my passion for giving back to my community in various volunteer opportunities. Last summer, I volunteered with the nutrition program at Kimochi, a Japanese nonprofit in San Francisco, and embodied its mission of the younger generation helping the older generation by serving lunch twice a week to over two hundred senior citizens. My time at Kimochi inspired me to learn more about my Japanese heritage, and led me to decide to study abroad in Tokyo this April.

I also spent the summer as a research assistant for a Stanford graduate student’s Ph.D project on mixed race high school youth, and had a very enlightening experience. Additionally, I serve as an assistant editor for the Sierra Club of San Francisco’s online publication, the Yodeler, spreading the word about the Club’s stance on legislative measures and environmental concerns.

These experiences and the skills I have developed led me to this internship at VolunteerMatch, and I believe it will be a great fit on both sides. Much as I anticipate a career in a business setting, I am very passionate about volunteering, and am excited for this opportunity where those two spheres coexist.

As a Communications & Social Media intern, I will be engaging the public, spreading the word not only about VolunteerMatch’s service to the world, but also the importance of volunteering and supporting our communities. And what better way to do so than at the intersection of volunteers, nonprofits, and business leaders.

I will be on this blog a lot in the coming months, and I am really looking forward to meeting you all!

Celebrating Our Roots (and You)

Explore the roots of the Web's largest volunteer engagement networkLast week while browsing around the Web, I discovered that today, December 23rd, is a little known holiday called “Roots Day,” when we celebrate everything and everyone that has made us who we are. (Today is also Festivus, but that’s another blog post entirely.)

It makes sense, during such a family-oriented time of year, to be thinking about our roots. So in honor of the holiday season, and to honor the core of the VolunteerMatch network (YOU!) let’s take a look at some milestones from the early days:

April 20, 1998: VolunteerMatch.org launches as a stand-alone Web service.

VolunteerMatch.org launched on April 20, 1998.

You can hardly recognize us!

April 26, 1998: VolunteerMatch celebrates its 1,000th online connection between volunteers and nonprofits.

February 9, 1999: The Gap, Inc. becomes the first corporate client to actively promote use of VolunteerMatch to its employees.

December 8, 1999: Oprah Winfrey promotes VolunteerMatch on her show, igniting the busiest day in VolunteerMatch history (December 9, 1999.)

July 18, 2001: VolunteerMatch receives two Webby Awards for Activism and Service.

VolunteerMatch won 2 Webby Awards in 2001.

Confirming that we are, in fact, huge geeks.

September 11, 2001: The 9/11 tragedy triggers a national surge in volunteer interest and VolunteerMatch usage.

January 9, 2003: VolunteerMatch celebrates its 1,000,000th connection between volunteers and nonprofits.

Early 2004: VolunteerMatch launches the Community Leader Premium Service program to expand nonprofit services and strengthen long-term financial model.

Happy Holidays from our team at VolunteerMatch to your organization, your community and your volunteers!

Now, ten years later, VolunteerMatch has connected close to 7.5 million volunteers with nonprofits, and gets more than 11 million visits per year to VolunteerMatch.org.

We are so proud of what we’ve accomplished since that fateful day in 1998, but mainly we’re proud of the 96,000+ nonprofits that work hard each day and use VolunteerMatch to help change the world.

Happy Holidays to you, your communities, and your volunteers!

When It Comes To Volunteering I Rarely Think: Why Am I Doing This?

Hello VounteerMatch community! My name is Rana Ayed and I will be a Communications and Social Media intern at VolunteerMatch for the coming few months. I am a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem. I was raised a humanist and social activist. My family, education and professional work experience provided the seeds for my evolving work ethic, sense of local and global civic responsibility and the limitlessness of my potential.

I moved to San Francisco Spring 2011 and completed my Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Golden Gate University in May 2013. I aspire to harness my skills as a bilingual Social Marketer to explore new online communities for VolunteerMatch.

When I think about volunteering, I rarely think: why am I doing this? More often I think: why are other people not doing this? As a Social Marketer I am invested in the well-being of the communities I am part of and others I have yet to meet. For me, volunteering is about social equity and self-determination, more than committing a number of hours. It is more about being an example of the good cause I believe in.

From involving more than 150 Palestinian and International organizations to prioritize local products within their procurement policy, to introducing the first olive tapenade brand made by women cooperatives in villages, I am passionate about returning economic agency to local stakeholders.

I am especially interested in two areas, women’s health equity and youth physical activity. As a youth I was part of an Italian initiative in Palestinian refugee camps that established a women’s basketball team as a growth opportunity and social skills development for young women at the camp.

I am currently volunteering as a digital marketer for the Nurse-Midwives Department at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). Focusing on the empowerment that emerges from the values and practice of midwifery we aim to increase awareness of the benefits of midwifery care at SFGH during pregnancy and birth as a vehicle for increasing the number of women cared for by Nurse-Midwives.

It is the nuanced interactions with a mother who presses olive oil or the satisfaction of addressing the social media marketing needs of nonprofit organizations through this internship with VolunteerMatch that compels me to cultivate reciprocal, transnational relationships through digital marketing.

I am excited to learn from the diverse team of experts at VolunteerMatch and the online community of volunteers, nonprofits, and companies who are invested in the collective well-being of the society, that allows us to fulfill our dreams in a global and cross-cultural setting.